Piers Morgan Shushes Gun Rights Advocate: 'I Suggest You Keep Quiet'

CNN's Piers Morgan bullied gun rights advocate John Lott on his Wednesday night show, repeatedly interrupting him and lecturing him. At one point Morgan told his guest, "I'm going to keep talking, so I suggest you keep quiet."

This is typical Morgan behavior towards gun rights advocates, as he sets up a "debate" but proceeds to badger his guest as much as possible. An exasperated Lott asked "Why am I on?" at one point, and again shot back at Morgan, "You want to go and talk 90 percent of the time." 

When Lott got a full argument in, Morgan promptly changed the subject. Lott told him:

"Do you know that 78 percent in the counties in the United States have zero murders in any given year, and that three percent of the counties account for over 70 percent of the murders? Where do you think the gun ownership is heaviest? The gun ownership is heaviest in those 78 percent of the counties that have zero murders?"

To which Morgan responded by changing the subject: "Do you believe in universal background checks for all guns in America?"

"I'm asking you my questions! You are to answer my questions, not the ones that suit you and your agenda," Morgan at one point lectured his guest. "You are such a cherry picker!" said Lott later on.

In a moment of complete irony, Morgan accused his guest of using facts to support his argument: "See, again, Mr. Lott, you are quoting statistics that suit your agenda."

"Look, I don't see what the point of having anybody on if you are going to talk for 90 percent of the time," Lott insisted during the "debate."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Tonight on February 27 at 9:16 p.m. EST, is as follows:

PIERS MORGAN: No, your argument has always been more guns, less crime. But I have always argued with you passionately based on the evidence from Australia, from Britain, from Japan, from other countries who have brought in tough gun control, that's simply not true, is it? It is just not true.

JOHN LOTT: Well, you made multiple points there. Let's just try to go through them in order. The first one that you were saying is again pointing to magazines as somehow differing assault weapons versus hunting rifles. And the point is is once a gun –

MORGAN: Nobody needs a high-capacity magazine to hunt. Nobody needs that. No huntsman, no hunter has told me – I've interviewed many, many people since we last spoke. Many, many people go hunting; none of them have said to me they need a high-capacity magazine or an AR-15 military-style rifle. That's not hunting. That's not sport. You don't just spray gun at deer with 100 bullets in a minute. So if you remove hunting from the equation, what are you left with as a purpose for these weapons?

(...)

MORGAN: In 1996, as you know, there was a horrendous mass shooting in Australia, Hobart. 35 people killed. They brought in extensive gun control and gun bans in Australia. In the period leading up to that, in the 10-year period, there were 18 mass shootings in Australia. Do you know how many there have been since the gun ban was brought in?

LOTT: It depends on how you define them. I know the way you're going to define them –  

MORGAN: Actually, it's very easy. It's very easy to define. More than four people killed in a shooting. Do you know how many there have been in Australia since they brought in the gun ban?

LOTT: Okay. Do you know how many there have been in New Zealand?

MORGAN: Can you answer my question first? Then we'll move on to supplementaries.

LOTT: The way you define it, you are going to say it is zero –

MORGAN: How many mass shootings have there been in a country before they had a massacre and changed their laws? They had 18. Now, how many have there been since 1996?

LOTT: Okay. No, no. You are going to let me talk for a second. The point is –

MORGAN: Answer the question.

LOTT: I just did. If you look at New Zealand –

MORGAN: How many since '96?

LOTT: I already said a couple of times. I said the way you define it, it is zero. But the point is –

MORGAN: Zero. So, just to clarify – just to clarify --

LOTT: No, sir –

MORGAN: You agree with me – you agree with me in a country that brought in extensive gun control and gun bans following 18 mass shootings culminating in 35 people being slaughtered, there have been zero – zero -- mass shootings since. Here's my second question for you.

LOTT: No, no, no, no! You can't go and ask three or four questions at once!

(Crosstalk)

LOTT: You have made many factual statements. Let me respond!

MORGAN: I'm asking you my questions! You are to answer my questions, not the ones that suit you and your agenda.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Let me ask you a second question.

LOTT: Wait a second, sir.

MORGAN: You don't have to answer it, Mr. Lott –  

LOTT: No!

MORGAN: – but I will ask you this question because it is very important for the premise of your argument. Let me ask you this question.

LOTT: You have spoken about 80 percent of the time since the break.

MORGAN: I'm going to keep talking, so I suggest you keep quiet. In 1996, in the same year as the Hobart massacre in Australia, in Dunblane in, Scotland, as you know, 16 children of a similar age to Sandy Hook were slaughtered by a mass shooter. As a result, Britain brought in handgun bans, semiautomatic bans, and other bans. I want to ask you one question again. How many shootings, not mass shootings, individual shootings – have there been at Britain schools since Dunblane and since the gun bans were brought in following Dunblane since 1996? Do you know?

LOTT: There was one before, and there haven't been any after.

MORGAN: No, I asked you one question.

LOTT: And I answered the question.

MORGAN: How many shootings at a school – how many shootings at a school have there been?

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Are you agreeing with me that there have been zero? Zero, zero, zero. Not five, not ten. Zero shootings at a school in Britain since we've had a gun ban.

LOTT: Look, I don't see what the point of having anybody on if you are going to talk for 90 percent of the time.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Because you're trying to change the question to one that suits you. And I'm trying to tell you as the man who tells America –

LOTT: You are such a cherry picker!

MORGAN: -- "more guns, less crime," that in countries where they have brought in gun control –  

LOTT: Why am I on?

MORGAN: -- following massacres like Sandy Hook –  

LOTT: Why am I on?

MORGAN: – they have seen zero mass shootings in one country. Zero school shootings in another. That is my point to you, Mr. Lott.

LOTT: Okay, how about Germany? Germany has even stricter laws than Australia has, and up until Newtown, they had two of the three worst public school shootings in the world. They had occurred –  

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: What's the average gun murder rate in Germany for the last 10 years? Do you know?

LOTT: Pardon? In the last 10 years, they had the two in the last 10 years –

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: How many in the last 10 years have been killed by guns in Germany?

LOTT: Germany had both of their shootings in the last 10 years.

MORGAN: No, no. I asked you how many people have been murdered with guns in Germany in the last 10 years? Do you know?

LOTT: Again, what you have --

MORGAN: You've cited Germany! Do you know the answer to the country you've raised as an example of proof of your argument? The answer is you don't know. Germany averages 50 gun murders a year. America averages 12,000 gun murders a year, Mr. Lott.

LOTT: What is the point of having anybody on? Here is the deal.

MORGAN: You mentioned Germany, not me!

LOTT: You bring up school shootings, I respond to school shootings, and then you go on to something else without letting me finish. So here's the deal –

MORGAN: I finally get the answers to the questions I ask you. The deal is, it's my show, and I ask you the questions.

LOTT: But you won't even let me finish the other answer!

MORGAN: You are the man that wants to tell people like Neil Hesmond that the answer –  

LOTT: You want to go and talk 90 percent of the time.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: – to what happened to his son is more guns in America.

LOTT: Sir, you haven't even let me make a sentence. I have let you make many sentences here. You've talked most of the time, both before and after the break. So, let me just try to deal with a couple of things. One of the things you have a hard time understanding is the difference between levels and changes, okay? Countries differ in terms of murder rates for many reasons.

So, if we just take your German question about how many murders there are in Germany, Germany has relatively few murders. Switzerland has even fewer murders than Germany has. But the point is is that Germany also had fewer murders, had even lower murders before they had the gun control rules that they had. The murders in UK, the murders in Germany, the murders in other countries have gone up after you have had bans put in place. And that –  

MORGAN: See, again, Mr. Lott, you are quoting statistics that suit your agenda. But the reality in Britain is --

LOTT: You just asked me about Germany having a lower murder rate.

MORGAN: In the five-year period in Britain after Dunblane, there was a spike. And then as you know, when the full impact of the gun ban came in, in the last eight consecutive years in Britain, it has fallen. As you well know. You know that's a fact!

LOTT: Look, look, sir, first of all, it soared for the next seven years. Britain had an 18 percent increase in the number of police in the country at that point. And that helped drive it down. But despite having 18 percent more police, the murder rate in Britain is still higher now than it was before you had the handgun ban. Why is it still higher?

MORGAN: How many people were murdered in Britain last year with guns?

LOTT: The point is it was even lower before you had the ban.

MORGAN: How many? You are citing the murder rate in Britain. Answer me

LOTT: It is about a third. The murder rate in Britain is about a third what it is in the United States.

MORGAN: Oh don't be so utterly ridiculous. What an absolute lie! How many people were murdered in Britain last year by guns? How many?

LOTT: It makes much more sense to talk about murder rates, to deal with differences in population –

MORGAN: No. Tell me how many people – we are talking about guns. Guns.

LOTT: I don't memorize the number of murders –

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Allow me to introduce you to a hard fact. In 2011 –

LOTT: So you don't care about the total number of people who died?

MORGAN: In 2011, in England and Wales 39 people were killed with guns. In the same year, in America, 11,000 were murdered with guns, 18,000 killed themselves with guns.

(Crosstalk)

LOTT: Do you know that 78 percent in the counties in the United States have zero murders in any given year, and that three percent of the counties account for over 70 percent of the murders? Where do you think the gun ownership is heaviest? The gun ownership is heaviest in those 78 percent of the counties that have zero murders?

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Do you believe in universal background checks for all guns in America?
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014